Animal rights advocates have renewed allegations of poor conditions at the Smithtown Animal Shelter and again called for the director's firing.
The arguments were reiterated at a contentious meeting Feb. 26 that Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio repeatedly threatened to shut down.
Frustrations peaked as two residents served Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski with notarized complaints alleging federal civil rights violations for restrictions placed on shelter volunteers, animal rights violations, and official misconduct by shelter director George Beatty.
Marie Thompson, 61, of Smithtown, said her complaint addressed issues including failure to provide animals sustenance and contaminating their food and water with feces that was not cleaned in a timely manner. "I intend to go to the district attorney if nothing is done," she said in an interview.
Gregory Daley, 51, of Smithtown, said he filed an affidavit following instructions from Vecchio, who in January asked people to file formal complaints in order for the town attorney's office to investigate.
Both complaints, obtained by Newsday, feature photocopies of Facebook photos and comments as evidence.
"We're trying to effect change," Daley said. "Several meetings that have taken place at the town . . . yielded nothing."
Serafina LoBue, 62, of Smithtown, raised concerns about a 2010 video showing what appears to be Beatty leaving the town animal shelter and going to a bar during the day. Vecchio has said Beatty may have taken a personal day, but LoBue said town records show he did not use personal time off on the day in question.
"As a Smithtown taxpayer, I and other residents have been outraged over this video," she said. "As nothing has been done since 2010, taxpayers can only wonder if this behavior is considered acceptable by the Town of Smithtown."
Jakubowski said the town attorney's office is investigating the incident.
But Beatty said the issue was settled five years ago. "Back in 2010, that matter had been investigated, and the allegation was unfounded at that time, and it will be unfounded at this time," he said. "This is an unfair attack."
Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick, a liaison to the shelter, said progress has been made. Last month, she appointed three animal welfare advocates to work with her and Beatty in what she described as Long Island's first town-run animal shelter advisory council.
"We're trying to look to fix things and work hard with this group of advocates," she said, adding that they plan to launch an adoption campaign and log animals' shot records and information in a computer system.
Some criticized the formation of the council, because it does not include Smithtown town residents other than Nowick.
Advisory council member Diane Madden, president and co-founder of Hope for Hempstead Shelter, said the town board should be applauded for its first steps. "You wouldn't be bringing in the harshest shelter critic to help you improve this animal shelter, if you are not serious about doing it," Madden said.